Yesterday, Visa splashed some very flashy headlines into the crypto space with the announcement that they will be the first major payments network to utilize stablecoins to settle transactions using the Ethereum blockchain.
This morning, PayPal announced that they’ll be allowing U.S. consumers to pay online merchants directly with cryptocurrency with their new crypto checkout service.
Though I cannot stress enough how positive both of these updates are for the adoption of crypto assets and the future of the global economy being built on Web 3.0, and the resulting price action has largely been positive, it does feel like the headlines coming from these major payment providers are somewhat rehashed.
Didn’t we just hear both of these announcements last year?
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Visa is involved in a pilot with crypto.com is mind blowing. We do need to point out that they aren’t on the cusp of routing all international payments through USDC.
However, only “a portion” of the obligations coming from crypto.com’s Visa card program will utilize this new settlement option.
Honestly, I found it very difficult to see the difference between PayPal’s latest update and the one from Nov. 12.
Similar to the way the Tesla story played out, there was a huge sensation when the company announced they had plans to do it, then another when they actually implemented it.
As far as I know, PayPal still doesn’t allow people to fund their account with bitcoin, nor do they allow people to withdraw the digital currency. They’re simply letting people spend the fake bitcoin that they hold in PayPal wallets.
Certainly, I’ve been wrong before, but in my mind it seems doubtful that this is what’s going to blast us through bitcoin’s massive $60,000 resistance.
Without a doubt, both of these gargantuan companies are making massive strides that are hastening blockchain and crypto adoption.
For Visa, the new strategy makes sense, as they see themselves as a network of networks and are generally currency agnostic. Indeed, they already support 160 currencies in over 200 markets.
The fact that they’re experimenting now with stablecoins for settlements only makes sense.
As we’ve mentioned many times, unlike China’s top-down approach to a central bank digital currency, the U.S. will likely migrate to a more decentralized system for the digital dollar, where we’ll have many different USD stablecoins issued by financial institutions.
The real progress is that they chose Circle’s Ethereum-based network for the experiment. I fail to see how this is great for Bitcoin, however.
The PayPal news may actually drive mass adoption depending on how people use it. Even though they don’t allow users to hold their keys, it wouldn’t make much sense for them not to hedge their bitcoin exposure.
So we can only assume they have at least a good portion of BTC to back up client holdings.
There is also the question of taxation. This is where Ray Dalio is right, so listen up. The government will not try to shut down crypto.
They’ll attempt to combat its usage outside of their system by taxing competing areas of the market. Just about any transaction in the NFT market seems to be a taxable event, and as we know, nobody wants to pay capital gains in order to purchase concert tickets.
The dollar rising
You don’t get too many crypto rallies while stocks are lowered by a strong dollar and rising bond yields, so today has certainly been an interesting one.
Here’s the USD sitting near a five-month high in it’s strongest rally since the pandemic V.
As far as the major cryptocurrencies go, there are still some technical levels that need to be crossed, but if this current activity intensifies, we could easily see the market moving much higher.
If they fail, well, more likely we see some further consolidation. We’ll see how it plays out.
Reef Finance’s Schedules Mainnet Release for May, Promises Polkadot Integration
Reef Finance has announced that its Substrate-based mainnet will see the light of day in May 2021. Called Reef Chain, it promises to “make DeFi easy” by enabling developers to use a highly scalable and fully EVM-compatible network that’s integrated into the Polkadot ecosystem.
Reef Chain Coming in May
Reef Finance is a cross-chain DeFi operating system allowing traders to access liquidity from centralized and decentralized exchanges through its smart liquidity aggregator and yield machine. The project outlined the date for its long-anticipated mainnet launch in a press release shared with CryptoPotato.
According to it, Reef Chain will be launched next month after finishing the final checks of the current Maldives testnet. The precise date will “depend on the result of the rigorous tests being conducted right now, though the team is confident that they will be completed soon.”
Upon its release, Reef Chain will enable DeFi developers to produce scalable and EVM-compatible systems integrated into the Polkadot ecosystem. Reef’s new product will be rolled out as a standalone blockchain based on the Substrate framework. This feature will simplify the integration to the Polkadot parachain network.
The mainnet’s compatibility with EVM, meaning developers can write contracts in Solidity or Vyper and deploy them on the chain, and its ability to bridge with other blockchains, including Ethereum, should enhance its interoperability features.
No Better Timing
Denko Mancheski, CEO of Reef Finance, outlined Reef Chain’s launch as perfect timing because of the “insatiable” demand for DeFi and the issues he sees with the current ecosystem. More specifically, those are the record-high transaction costs on the Ethereum network and even the struggling lately Binance Smart Chain.
Apart from promising scalability and deeper liquidity integration, Reef Chain is also “committed to helping out developers in their quest to bring their DeFi idea to life.” It plans to do so by enabling them access to Reef’s user base, network partners, investors, exchanges, and media.
“We know the struggles of up and coming developers all too well, and a lot of the time, technical skills are only a part of the equation. By tapping into Reef’s business network, DeFi builders will multiply their chances of success.” – concluded Mancheski.
CEO of a Turkish Crypto Exchange Thodex Reportedly Runs Off With $2 Billion
Nearly 400,000 users of a Turkish cryptocurrency exchange were left out of their accounts without being able to withdraw their funds. The platform’s website has been down for several days, while reports suggest its CEO has already fled the country with up to $2 billion.
Turkish Exchange Does a Rug Pull?
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Thodex, a Turkey-based crypto exchange, has ceased trading, citing an “unspecified partnership transaction.” The founded in 2017 trading platform issued a statement explaining that all services will remain shut down for about five working days. However, the message reassured customers that they shouldn’t worry about their funds.
Approximately at the same time, though, users started to complain about their inability to access their own assets. Some took it to Twitter to exemplify the absurdity of the situation.
A local #Crypto exchange where I’d ~20% of my entire trading capital got rug pulled
-20 days no withdrawal (fiat & crypto)
-Then the website went offline
-Then the CEO run abroad
I’m not broke, but it hurts… Alot
It sucks, Even when u deal with regulated exchanges#Thodex
— Feras_Crypto (will Never DM you First) (@FeraSY1) April 21, 2021
More recent coverages asserted that the exchange’s chief executive officer and founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, who refrained answering comments before, had fled the country.
Users Alleging of Fraud
Upon the news of Ozer’s alleged escape from Turkey, users of the local exchange hired a law firm to file a complaint against Thodex. Oguz Evren Kilic, representing an unspecified number of Thodex customers, confirmed the development, saying, “we have filed a legal complaint on Wednesday.”
He speculated that the funds on the Turkish exchange could be worth “hundreds of millions of dollars,” keeping in mind that the user base is just shy of 400,000. A prosecutor in Istanbul has reportedly launched an investigation.
According to another report, Thodex’s CEO and founder has run away in Thailand with an estimated amount of roughly $2 billion.
It’s worth noting that Turkish authorities have already taken a steep approach towards the cryptocurrency industry. CryptoPotato informed last week of the country’s latest rule on digital assets, banning users from using them as payment instruments from April 30th.
Chainlink is uniquely placed to play this out in the market
2021 has been a good year for Chainlink, the project growing leaps and bounds over the past few months. What’s more, LINK has continued to build on its foundations from last year, with the altcoin surging up the charts over the past few months. In fact, on the back of the wider market’s bullishness, LINK touched a new ATH on the charts just a few days ago.
At the time of writing, however, the aforementioned bullishness had given way to a wave of corrections, with the altcoin trading at a price level that was 18% away from its ATH.
What does this mean then? Has LINK’s price rally finally exhausted itself? On the contrary, a closer look at factors such as ecosystem-centric developments, metrics, and technical fundamentals would suggest quite the opposite.
The most crucial of these ecosystem-centric developments came to the fore a few days ago when the project released the whitepaper for its next protocol upgrade – Chainlink 2.0. As the DeFi sector’s leading decentralized oracle provider, this is a significant development, especially in light of the inflows that have been moving into DeFi over the past few months.
The whitepaper in question proposed a roadmap of Chainlink’s future, one which sought to address the limitations that were part of the initial whitepaper. Smart contracts with limited functionality, for instance. According to a recent report by OKEx Insights,
“Chainlink 2.0 addresses these limitations by enabling hybrid smart contracts in DONs — allowing blockchain protocols to access off-chain data sources and perform off-chain computations.”
What’s more, 2.0 also seeks to make oracles much more scalable, with the addition of the ability to perform off-chain calculations and the introduction of a “transaction-execution framework for Decentralized Oracle Networks which processes off-chain transactions and oracle reporting.”
Finally, Chainlink 2.0 will also be a step towards strengthening privacy protections on the blockchain network with the addition of confidentiality-preserving adapters and support for confidential layer-2 systems.
Needless to say, this a major update, one that could have major repercussions on the value of LINK on the price charts. However, contrary to expectations, when the paper was first made public on the 15th of April, the altcoin’s market failed to react. In fact, it corrected instead.
Why? Well, because the rest of the market corrected too on the back of Bitcoin’s depreciation and fall below the $60,000-level. In doing so, what can be argued is that LINK’s price is yet to price in the aforementioned development. This means that when the bearish phase passes and consolidation ensues, there is potential for a lot more upside in the Chainlink market.
In fact, it can be hypothesized that LINK, more than most altcoins in the space, is better placed to see more upside in its price action in the near term. This, because despite how it has performed over the past week, LINK’s fundamentals remain pretty strong.
Consider this – According to Glassnode, the top 1% of LINK addresses now hold over 84.44% of the altcoin’s supply, a 3-year high. This finding is a testament to the accumulation trend in the Chainlink market, one that underlines the confidence the market’s whales have in the alt’s long-term credentials.
Further, LINK’s Exchange Outflow Volume (7d MA) also touched an ATH of $3,753,855.00 recently, with the same suggesting that more and more people are now moving their crypto-assets off exchanges to HODL, with these unlikely to be sold anytime soon.
Here, it’s worth noting that in the past, whenever this metric has risen, the altcoin’s value has fallen on the charts immediately after. However, LINK’s price has also touched higher highs whenever recovery has ensued, meaning, this could be a sign to buy in.
Finally, the number of active LINK addresses also surged to a 1-month high in the last 48 hours, despite the general market bearishness another sign of there being a lot of optimism associated with the alt’s price performance.
It’s no wonder then that many in the community expect the cryptocurrency to reignite its rally in the near term, especially since traditionally, the cryptocurrency has maintained a lower correlation with the king coin, when compared to the likes of Ethereum and Litecoin. This, coupled with its strong fundamentals, might allow LINK to surge again, independent of the rest of the market.
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